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Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 2 (so)

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Brandon Saad's goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 shootout victory Friday night over the Detroit Red Wings and clinched the Central Division championship in front of a season-high announced crowd of 22,191 at the United Center.

Marion Hossa scored the other shootout goal for Chicago, while Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Michal Rozsival all came up short.

Detroit's lone shootout goal was scored by Henrik Zetterberg. Misses were recorded by Pavel Datsyuk, Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen.

Chicago (31-5-4) improved to 15-3-2 at home.

In an ironic twist, it was also the last regular season Central Division meeting between the two teams. Detroit (19-15-7) will move to the Eastern Conference from the Western Conference next season under the NHL's new realignment plan.

Instead of multiple in-division games, the two longtime rivals will only play a home-and-home series starting next season.

After falling behind 2-1, Chicago tied the score at 17:03 of the third period on Jonathan Toews' tip-in of a slapshot from the point by Johnny Oduya (other assist went to Michael Frolik). It was Toews' 20th goal of the season, tying him with Patrick Kane for the team goal scoring lead.

In the five-minute overtime period, only one shot on goal was recorded by both teams, coming from the Red Wings, setting up the shootout period.

Detroit scored its first goal of the game at 15:40 of the second period when, on the power play, Franzen's slapshot slowly dribbled between the legs of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford and into the net.

It was Franzen's eighth goal of the season (assists went to Carlo Colaiacovo and Jakub Kindl).

But the 1-1 tie didn't last long as Detroit scored again two minutes later on an even-strength tally by Cory Emmerton (assists: Drew Miller and Jordin Tootoo).

It was Emmerton's fourth goal of the season, as Detroit ultimately outshot the Blackhawks 9-7 in the middle period.

After a scoreless first period, the Blackhawks drew the first score of the game at 6:11 of the second period when Viktor Stalberg's shot got past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard (assists to Duncan Keith and Bryan Bickell).

It was Stalberg's eighth goal of the season.

Neither team was able to generate much in terms of offense in the first period. The Red Wings peppered Crawford with several close-in attempts, but he turned each of Detroit's 10 shots away.

It was the same for Detroit's Howard, who stopped all 11 of Chicago's first period shots, as well. That was a hopeful effort, as the Red Wings came into Friday having lost five of their last seven, including a 3-2 shootout vs. visiting San Jose on Thursday night.

Crawford was back in goal for the Blackhawks after Ray Emery started the last three games, all wins for Chicago (which has now won five of its last six, with the other game being a shootout loss to St. Louis).

Emery's record is 15-1-0, while Crawford came into the game with a 15-4-4 mark.

The Blackhawks came into the game with a 3-0 mark in the season series against the Red Wings.

Even so, Detroit was still able to boast coming into Friday's game with a commanding all-time record over Chicago of 363-265-84-12.

NOTES: The Blackhawks announced before the game that they have agreed to terms with Drew LeBlanc, winner of the 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in NCAA hockey. A native of Hermantown, Minn., LeBlanc, 23, starred for St. Cloud State of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, scoring 147 points (42 goals, 105 assists) in 171 career games at the school, and also led the Huskies to their first Frozen Four appearance in program history. ... The Blackhawks play next at St. Louis on Sunday, while the Red Wings play the second game of their current four game road trip at Nashville, also on Sunday.

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